22 Feb 2011

Iran naval ships enter Suez Canal

Israel says it takes a 'grave view' of the ships' passage - the first Iranian naval vessels to go through the canal since Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution.
Two Iranian ships entered the Suez Canal on Tuesday and were heading towards the Mediterranean, an Egyptian canal official said. Iran appears to be testing the state of affairs in the Middle East after the fall of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.


"They entered the canal at 5:45 a.m.," the official told Reuters. No other details were immediately available. Israel is anxious about political upheaval in Egypt and other Arab states aligned with its ally the United States.

Analysts say that Iran see itself benefiting from the upheaval across the Middle East. Dislodgement and weakening of leaders sympathetic to the United States is likely to embolden Tehran, and lessen the chances of it making concessions on its nuclear program. Iran denies it intends to build atomic weapons.
Last week, the prospect of the Suez crossing was described by Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, as a provocation by Iran.

Haaretz Daily Newspaper